Reel Science: LAIKA: A Giant Skeleton & Animated Shorts



Individual Show Tickets Are Sold Out. Limited Seating Available For Film Fest Pass Holders This Evening on First Come, First Serve Basis Starting At 5:30PM.



Steve Emerson, VFX Supervisor; Steve Switaj, Engineer, Camera and Motion Control; Eric Wachtman, CG Look Development Lead; Mitch Prater, Shading Systems Architect

Join OMSI and LAIKA for the kick off to the Animation Film Festival Weekend. Includes an in-depth lecture about the largest stop-motion puppet ever built or animated: an 18-foot tall giant skeleton. Following the lecture, we will enjoy 7 animated shorts produced by LAIKA employees.


6:20PM | Doors Open

6:30PM | Lecutre & Q&A: "Kubo and the Two Strings": One Giant Skeleton, One Colossal Undertaking

8:30PM | Animated Shorts by LAIKA Employees (Duration: 30 mins. | Rating: from G to PG-13)

Plan on attending multiple shows or events? Buy an exclusive Festival pass and save! Pass holders receive access to all festival screenings and special events on a space available basis. 
$19 Adult / $16 Youth (3-13) & Senior (63+)
OMSI members receive $3 off



On Kubo and the Two Strings (in theaters August 19), LAIKA launched an immensely powerful puppet – to scale. The result? The Giant Skeleton: 18 feet tall with a 24-foot wingspan from finger to finger. True to its nature as the most robust, fearless stop-motion studio in the world, artists, designers, fabricators, and animators gave life to the largest animatable puppet ever created. With real-world materials including dense CNC foam, paper, paint, and a steel armature, the Giant Skeleton was a massive undertaking involving LAIKA's notoriously collaborative crew. And when the puppet was completed, the challenges began anew, this time on the VFX front. The session also addresses complicated environments in the real and practical worlds using reference, scanned objects, and integration of LAIKA's plausible lighting system, as well as the interaction of set builders, puppet makers, a camera team, and the lighting and shading group.



Steve Emerson's diverse background in visual effects is highlighted by his work on Coraline (2009) and ParaNorman (2012) where he served as 2D Supervisor.  As a Technical Director and Compositor, he has contributed to a number of feature films, including The Matrix Revolutions, The Matrix Reloaded, Beowulf and Transformers.  He has spoken at major events, including SIGGRAPH in 2012.


Steve Switaj has a comprehensive body of work in the engineering milieu, in animation, live action, music videos and commercial content.  He started at LAIKA as Lead Motion Control Operator on Coraline.  His vast film resume includes: The Boxtrolls, I, Robot, Apollo 13, The Matrix franchise, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Final Destination, The Karate Kid, Catwoman, Interview with the Vampire, True Lies, Species II, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Hostage, Battlefield Earth and Snakes on a Plane.  With his wife, he runs a company called Flying Wombat Industries that provides custom electronics related to data capture and real-time previs for the industry.


Eric Wachtman has been working professionally in film and television since 1995. He started at LAIKA in 2006. Prior to joining the studio, Eric spent eight years as an Art Director and Director of CG for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.


Born and raised in Southern California, Mitch Prater worked on Air Force satellite flight software straight out of college. In addition to ParaNorman, The Boxtolls and Kubo and the Two Strings, his voluminous list of credits includes: Toy Story, Geri's Game, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2,  For the Birds, Monster's Inc. and Cars.  Texture maps of his face have been used in the skin shading in all of Pixar's human characters since Toy Story 2.

Watch and learn at The Empirical Theater as OMSI brings the science of your favorite movies to life on the big screen. Perfect for science and film lovers alike, this monthly series combines the best of Science Pub with the fun of movie night, bringing in experts to amplify your movie-watching experience.  All ages are welcome.


The Empirical Cafe will be open serving hotdogs, grilled cheese, movie snacks plus beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages.